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America was a Christian Nation: Some Empirical Proof – Part I March 1, 2007

Posted by Daniel Downs in Chrisitanity, Constitution, freedom, human rights, politics, religion, United States.

Yesterday I commented on statistics about Americans’ religious affiliation which seem to belie the true state of American society. Over half of Americans identify themselves with Christianity. The problem is liberal politics and its valued humanism contradicts pre-20th century politics and biblical values. Is it possible a minority actually controls the expression of the majority’s political rights and values? Seems they can.

If so, then the idea that America was once a Christian nation requires some historical proof. The following quotes give some clue as to the factuality of the claim.

On June 20, 1785, President James Madison made the following statement: “Before any man can be considered as a member of Civilized Society, he must first be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.” Here is a statement that sheds some light on the meaning of life under a constitutional form of government; society must be subject to God. Society under the rule of tyrants is barbaric, but a civilized society is one under the rule of divine authority or law.

Another important founder of our constituted society was Alexander Hamilton. He really messes up current debates about both Intelligent Design and the basis of our natural rights. He said:

To grant that there is a supreme intelligence who rules the world and has established laws to regulate the actions of his creatures; and still to assert that man, in a state of nature, may be considered as perfectly free from all restraints of law and government, appears to a common understanding altogether irreconcilable. Good and wise men, in all ages, have embraced a very dissimilar theory. They have supposed that the deity, from the relations we stand in to himself and to each other, has constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensably obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution whatever. This is what is called the law of nature….Upon this law depend the natural rights of mankind.

What is this eternal and immutable law that regulates social behaviors? It is the moral law inherent in human nature. Consider what James Wilson, one of America’s first judges, wrote in his treatise “Of the Law of Nature, 1808”: “The moral precepts delivered in the sacred oracles form a part of the law of nature, are of the same origin and of the same obligation, operating universally and perpetually.”

What did Justice Wilson mean by sacred oracles? According to John Adams, founder and second President of the United States,

The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal code as well as a moral and religious code. These are laws essential to the existence of men in society and most of which have been enacted by every Nation which ever professed any code of laws. Vain indeed would be the search among the writings of secular history to find so broad, so complete and so solid a basis of morality as the Ten Commandments lay down.

As John Locke points out his “Treatise on Government,” this moral law may be understood by reason. Because few people are capable of untainted reason, revelation is required.

Locke was a Puritan like many Englishmen and colonial Americans. They all believed human nature was depraved, which meant tainted by crimes against the moral law. Depravity did not mean men and women were void of any goodness, love, kindness; their mental faculty was marred by it, Consequently, humanity needed the lessons of revelation gained by human the experience of a few and proven by many.

If we consider the meaning of depravity in light of modern news, it should not be difficult to recognize its realism.

Source of the quotes in this article is the courtesy of Ears To Hear.net.



1. fredericthewise - March 2, 2007

I do agree. Thank you.

2. kennethS - November 25, 2007

I have culled many sources in this debate and I have found cherry-picking of the founders’ quotes. James Madison has been frequently cited by both sides, as has Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. I have even read that Washington had been a Christian AND a Deist on his deathbed. So to me, both sides can cite all the empirical evidence they want, but it won’t amount to a hill of beans to the opposition. “Belief comes before evidence” seems to be the guiding tenet in this entire argument, so I don’t think there can ever be consensus on this no matter how an ordinary denizen or pundit may try. Really, this is just a symptom of this so-called “culture war” between freethought and religion. Logically speaking, incompatible sides should avoid each other, but in this case they won’t leave on another alone.

From my stance, this issue hasn’t torn this great country to shreds yet and I don’t think it ever will. It can still be cited and discussed, but nothing really will be accomplished except through actual action.

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